I was born in Limerick in August 1949, the second of four children (three boys and a girl). I attended the Jesuit Crescent College between 1956 and 1967. For a tongue-in-cheek piece on my time with the Jesuits, written in deference to James Joyce, click here.
I worked for Allied Irish Banks for five years before enrolling in UCD in 1972 to study German and History. Following a year as an English-language teacher in Düsseldorf, I completed my teacher training in 1977 and later worked as a teacher of German in a Dublin secondary school. As a recipient of an Austro-Irish Exchange Scholarship, I moved to Vienna, landing on 15 October 1979 with the intention to study for a Ph.D. in Contemporary History. I never regretted the move. For a detailed chronology of my career as an historian in Austria, written in German, click here.